The Seahawks are hopeful they'll get at least one Pro Bowl defensive player back this week, with defensive end Michael Bennett appearing to be on track to return following a five-game absence.
"I visited with Mike, he thinks he's on," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Bennett, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month. "We've got to get all the clearance from the doctors, but the trainers think he's in good shape and ready to go, so we're counting on him playing. He's very positive about it, he's really looking forward to getting back."
Another Pro Bowl member of the Seahawks defense, safety Earl Thomas, is still a question mark this week after missing a game for the first time in his seven-year career because of a hamstring injury. DeShawn Shead, meanwhile, is a little bit ahead of Thomas after also sitting out with a hamstring injury.
"DeShawn I think is a little bit ahead, we need to see from Earl," Carroll said. "Earl ran really hard today and had a good workout. We'll have to see as we get through the week. Shead was at about that level (Friday), so DeShawn looks like he's ahead."
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks are expecting center Justin Britt back from an ankle injury. Britt was in uniform in Tampa Bay and available if Joey Hunt had gone down, but was unable to practice all week. Carroll said Britt "should be back" for Seattle's Week 13 game against Carolina.
Tight end Luke Willson was the only player to leave Sunday's game with an injury, and Carroll had no update beyond what he knew after the game, which was that Willson has a "first degree" knee sprain that the team hopes isn't serious. Carroll said after the game Sunday that this injury is to the same knee on which Willson had arthroscopic surgery earlier this season, but is not related to that injury.
Linebacker Mike Morgan is still on track to come off of injured reserve this week and play against Carolina. Morgan, who had sports hernia surgery earlier this season, has been practicing with the team for the past two weeks, but was not eligible to return from injured reserve until this week—teams are allowed to bring one player off of IR each season, but that player has to be out for eight weeks before returning.
"Mike will be back, yeah," Carroll said. "We're really fired up about that. It has been a long haul for Mike waiting. He has been in good shape for some time now, so he's ready to go. It'll be great to get him back out there."
Carroll said it is too early to know if Morgan will jump right back into his starting role at strongside linebacker this week. Since Morgan's injury, the Seahawks have started Kevin Pierre-Louis, Cassius Marsh, Brock Coyle and Jordan Tripp in that spot.
"Let's see what the week shows us, see how he does," Carroll said.
Defensive end Damontre Moore "has a chance" to get back this week after missing Sunday's game with a foot injury, which occurred in Seattle's Week 11 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He got stepped on, a pretty nasty contusion that just kind of blew his foot up, so he wasn't able to make it back," Carroll said. "He's still struggling with it right now. He didn't break anything or strain anything, but his foot really blew up this week, so we'll just have to wait and see if he'll be all right this week. He has a chance."
Also in the "has a chance" category is running back Troymaine Pope, who has bounced back quickly from the high ankle sprain sustained against the Eagles.
"He's working hard at it, he is making a really good recovery," Carroll said. "He shocked the trainers that he has been able to bounce back as he has, so he has a chance."
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Check out some actions photos from Week 12 vs Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.